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German bakeries?

JungMann Jan 31, 2007 07:28 AM

Where I'm from, we grew up with dozens of traditional German Bäkerei. Cakes, more properly, tortes, at the Konditorei were spongy and layered with jammy or creamy filings and frosted with mounds of fluffy whipped cream. Except the Sachertorte and the Linzertorte; they had categories of their own.

But in NYC, every bakery seems to be Italian. Ferrara, Bruno's, Veniero's. And the cakes aren't light and creamy like they are in the Viennese bakeries. Icing is often buttercream or some sort of heavy ganache. Instead of mini Linzertorte, all I can get is sfogliatelle grossly mispronounced by the clerk behind the counter.

Certainly there must be a German/Austrian bakery somewhere in the city. In desperation I called the German consulate asking where I can find German-style cakes with flavored sponge cake and creamy frosting. That's how badly I miss these light, but rich, cakes. Other than Café Sabarsky, which is expensive and somewhat limited in scope, there's nothing besides a Swiss bakery somewhere in New Jersey. Anyone know where I can find buttery Viennese cookies or whipped cream tortes? I'm begging!

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    obob96 RE: JungMann Jan 31, 2007 08:59 AM

    I'm afraid you might be out of luck--it's been a while since Yorkville enjoyed its Kleine Konditorien (like the one on 86th St). It seems as if these once common treats--even alas, Black Forest Cake--have all but disappeared. There are some classic pan-European spots (Payard, even Saint Ambroeus on Madison) that come close, but except for a Hungarian cafe on 2nd and 84th or so (Andre?) with OK strudel, I'm at a loss...

    1. Striver RE: JungMann Jan 31, 2007 09:46 AM

      Stork's, out in Whitestone, Queens, was characterized as a German-American bakery, and their baked goods and breads were always excellent (although I'm not sure they would meet your quest requirements). I understand they've changed hands in recent years, and I haven't been out there since then, so I can't vouch for their continuing goodness, but they might at least be worth a phone call to see if they have the sorts of cakes you're looking for. They make their own chocolate, and their cookies - both enrobed and plain - were always first rate. Otherwise, I agree with obob96 - Yorkville is a shadow of its former self. There's a Hungarian bakery near Columbia (111th and Amsterdam) that's pretty good - you might also want to check them out, too.

      14 Replies
      1. re: Striver
        JungMann RE: Striver Jan 31, 2007 12:04 PM

        Any exact ideas on the name/location of the Hungarian bakery? Maybe the cakes I grew up with her Austro-Hungarian with any luck.

        I am deeply sad that there's nowhere to get German pastries in what's supposed to be the most cosmopolitan city in the world. But I refuse to be limited to just opera cakes and various heavy Italian concoctions. Anywhere that I can get whipped cream tortes? I just miss the moist sponge cake and flavorful whipped cream fillings and frostings. These dense Italian cakes are no comparison!

        1. re: JungMann
          Striver RE: JungMann Jan 31, 2007 12:25 PM

          In fact, I think it's The Hungarian Pastry Shop or words to that effect, and, as noted, it's on 111th and Amsterdam. I don't know if it will satisfy your desires, but it's worth a try...

          1. re: Striver
            piccola RE: Striver Jan 31, 2007 04:26 PM

            a word of warning from someone who lived right next to the hungarian pastry shop - the pastries are nasty.

            1. re: piccola
              Striver RE: piccola Jan 31, 2007 06:57 PM

              Well, I haven't been there in quite a while, but I don't recall their goods as being other than good, and occasionally better. Things change, of course.

              1. re: piccola
                Calcifer RE: piccola Feb 1, 2007 05:32 AM

                Totally agreed that it's nasty--I wouldn't even go there when I was in grad school 10+ years ago and had much lower standards. (If it gives me any added credibility, my family is Hungarian--we used to get our stuff from Rigo before it closed.) I think Andre's, as mentioned above, is much better although I've only had their strudel and rugelach. For cakes, I do like Sabarsky and Blaue Gans, although I see you're not crazy about that option.

                1. re: Calcifer
                  ballulah RE: Calcifer Feb 1, 2007 06:24 AM

                  Hungarian Pastry Shop has excellent coffee, and TERRIBLE pastries. Which is a shame because it's such a nice place to sit down and enjoy a coffee, it would be a great spot if the cakes were better. I used to hear students raving about this place when I was a fellow student, and I thought there must be something wrong with my taste buds that I didn't like the cakes. Then my mother and I went there for coffee my sophomore year in college, and her eyes lit up when she saw they had poppy seed cake; which was promptly sent back after the first bite, it was so bad. I realized I wasn't delusional at that point, rather my friends were seduced by the atmosphere.

                  1. re: Calcifer
                    JungMann RE: Calcifer Feb 1, 2007 08:08 AM

                    It's not that I don't want to go to Sabarsky or Blaue Gans, although I do have a slight problem with paying $50 for what is basically peasant food that I can make at home for less than a quarter of the cost, but I'm not so keen on Linzertorte and strudel. I'm looking more for whipped cream tortes, the kind that would be appropriate for a nice Kaffeeklatsch or a children's birthday party depending on the decoration on top. I suppose that's not necessarily a German specialty, but French and Italian bakeries don't seem to carry whipped cream tortes and American bakeries frost everything in sugary buttercream.

                    1. re: JungMann
                      ballulah RE: JungMann Feb 1, 2007 08:29 AM

                      Would you be willing to travel to Brooklyn, I know this is the Manhattan board, though. There are lots of Polish bakeries in Greenpoint and Williamsburg that make whipped cream tortes like that.

                      1. re: ballulah
                        JungMann RE: ballulah Feb 1, 2007 08:33 AM

                        If they're similar in texture and flavor. I've only had Pączki, so I don't even know what to expect from a Polish torte. But if I can get a moist hazelnut torte, I will take the L or the G to wherever I need!

                        1. re: JungMann
                          ballulah RE: JungMann Feb 1, 2007 08:38 AM

                          They are very similar in style to the Viennese, and hazelnut torte is a particular Polish favorite. My grandmother used to spend three days making her hazelnut torte, and she had a special nut grinder for it which I inherited. I was just given a whipped cream torte with fresh fruit as a holiday gift from someone who ordered it from a new-ish Polish bakery in Williamsburg. Let me do some research/make some calls and I'll post the name and location later. If the "Chowhound Team" sweeps in and deletes these comments for not being about Manhattan businesses, I'll post a new thread on the Outer Boroughs boards.

                          1. re: ballulah
                            Calcifer RE: ballulah Feb 1, 2007 08:50 AM

                            Thanks, ballulah! I'd love the info, too.

                            Speaking of Polish treats, I did see some very tempting paczki at Kurowycky last weekend--I resisted the urge but perhaps I'll have to break down in the near future.

                            1. re: Calcifer
                              JungMann RE: Calcifer Feb 1, 2007 10:32 AM

                              Pączki Day is right around the corner!

                              1. re: JungMann
                                ballulah RE: JungMann Feb 16, 2007 12:32 PM

                                I've been looking and looking for the card from the bakery in Williamsburg/Greenpoint, and I can't find it. Alas alack! Haha. I've never actually been there either, so I'm not sure where it is exactly to give you directions. There are some spots along Manhattan Ave in Greenpoint that look promising.

            2. re: Striver
              Angela Roberta RE: Striver Feb 1, 2007 08:20 AM

              Stork's still makes good German specialties--honey bee cake, Black Forest, strudel, rye bread. But the shop and display window are not spick-and-span as they were under the iron rule of Mrs. Stork.

              The Tulip Bake Shop, in Floral Park, Long Island, is another neighborhood bakery along these lines.

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              surly RE: JungMann Jan 31, 2007 03:26 PM

              i don't know if any of the old german bakeries in the upper east side's yorkville section still exist - i'd imagine that they're all long gone - but there are a couple of places that i believe are still around in queens. if i'm wrong about the following, someone please chime in as i haven't been to either in the longest time:

              rudy's bakery
              905 seneca ave at catalpa ave, ridgewood, queens
              718 821 5890
              bienenstich and pfefferneusse are recommended, though i'm not sure if they'll have everything you're looking for.

              bauer's bakeshop
              64-59 dry harbor rd at 64th rd, middle village, queens
              718 326 1579
              also has a range of german baked goods, incl. german pretzels
              hours: http://www.bauersbakeshop.com/bauhour...

              ridgewood, glendale, and middle village used to be great german neighborhoods, but unfortunately that's not the case anymore. if you visit these neighborhoods (glendale in particular) you'll see a few vestiges of the old german presence, including a couple of traditional restaurants like zum stammtisch and von westernhagen and german butcher shops like karl ehmer, forest pork store, and moescher's.

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                obob96 RE: JungMann Feb 1, 2007 06:36 AM

                There is an Andre's Cafe on 2nd Ave between 84th and 85th that has a range of strudel and some other Hungarian-type sweets, plus sandwiches, etc. Never bought there, though.

                1. m
                  marlie202 RE: JungMann Feb 16, 2007 01:37 PM

                  the East Village has a lot of Polish places which sell cakes--1st Avenue between 6thSt.to St. Mark's--check this area out--they look good-also 2nd Avenue between St. Mark's and 9th St. some sausage/butcher shops sell cakes as well-let me know what you think--they are reasonably priced-

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: marlie202
                    ballulah RE: marlie202 Feb 16, 2007 02:07 PM

                    Unfortunately, most of these are sawdust offerings with icing or powdered sugar. The East Village only has vestiges of the Polish community that has since crossed the river. For Viennese style cakes and pastries you really need to find a dedicated spot.

                  2. ballulah RE: JungMann Feb 16, 2007 02:09 PM

                    OH! OH! I completely forgot, JungMann, have you ever been to Ceci Cela on Spring Street just off Lafayette? It's not Viennese, it's a Parisian style patisserie, but holy cow it's fantastic. I go there looking for Napoleons and eclairs, so I haven't tried the other offerings, but my old office (my very fancy old office) used to order cakes from here everytime we had something to celebrate. They were some of the best things I've ever tasted ever.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ballulah
                      JungMann RE: ballulah Feb 16, 2007 07:40 PM

                      I've had plenty of French pastries and they really just don't compare to the Viennese pastries I grew up with. Apples and oranges, really. I'll be in the East Village on Tuesday to pick up a paczki (provided I can find a place that sells them), perhaps I'll be lucky and find someone who also makes whipped cream tortes.

                    2. m
                      maspalbo RE: JungMann Feb 17, 2007 04:05 PM

                      I could be wrong , since no one mentioned it . But Glasers on 1 st ave and 87th , is German themed , they are more known for their black/white cookies , but i do know they have some German treats.

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                        sbny RE: JungMann Apr 29, 2008 10:58 AM

                        My mother use to make poppy seed struddle. Rich in poppy seeds several layers it was scrumptious Today all I find is a copy cat made at a kosher bakery in Brooklyn that taste like a dry sponge Real Napoleons, éclairs, where are they all? There was a bakers on 86th. and Amsterdam the made chocolate bobka and all the other yum yum german / Austrian fair. Anyone have any connections ??

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: sbny
                          sdhdezign RE: sbny Feb 3, 2009 11:54 AM

                          You can get wonderful, authentic, delicious viennese desserts; black forest cake, apple strudel, kugens, torts, and more at the Neue Galerie Museum Cafe Sabarsky. Excellent food, german beer, and pastries!!!! 5th and 86th in NYC. Gutes Essen!

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                          racer x RE: JungMann Feb 5, 2009 02:53 PM

                          I read this whole thread before I realized that it had been revived from a couple of years ago.
                          Still, it got me to thinking about a couple of discussion threads I have seen here at Chowhound and on another website in which it was said that German/Austrian cakes or tortes should be dry, at least dry by American standards, not moist. European visitors, supposedly, complain about American cakes (and American attempts to recreate European cakes) being too dry.

                          You've described much spongier, moister-sounding cakes than I would have expected from German bakeries, if what those others have said is correct.


                          Any thoughts?

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: racer x
                            JungMann RE: racer x Feb 6, 2009 07:28 AM

                            I wouldn't necessarily call Austrian cakes dry, but they are definitely different from pudding cakes or pound cakes. To be sure, there are certain cakes that might be considered breads by Americans like Gugelhupf and most kuchen. But tortes lean to the moister side and are traditionally served/iced with whipped cream which provides ample moisture, unless you're talking Sachertorte and Linzertorte, which is why I set them apart as their own category of dessert.

                            1. re: JungMann
                              pups224 RE: JungMann Feb 6, 2009 09:59 AM

                              Andre's is the only bakery in Manhattan that has anything close to Mittel European baking and it is very good. The strudels especially so.
                              Sadly, all the other bakeries have closed. The last one to go was Kramer's and they had a mean bienenstich. Schade.

                          2. m
                            michelleats RE: JungMann Apr 23, 2012 06:10 PM

                            I'm updating this old geezer of a thread. Landbrot Bakery and Bar opened WV and LES locations in early April. Haven't tried many items, yet, but they do have excellent apple strudel and very good pretzel rolls. Kathryn's started a separate thread, here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/845390

                            1. m
                              mouchemott RE: JungMann Jan 17, 2013 11:43 AM

                              The best bakery that specializes in German pastries I found is in St. Louis! It is to die for. Check out Lubeley's! Their crumb cake, goey butter cake and almond paste rolls r insane. I often order pastries from them. They might have the specialties you are searching for as well. They will ship and they come fresh!
                              http://lubeleysbakery.com/Pastries.html. Good luck.

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